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Skate park closer to becoming a reality

March 13, 2004|by BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

bonnieb@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A public skate park for the Chambersburg area is closer to becoming a reality.

Several months ago, John McGough, owner of Cluggy's Amusement Center on Bedington Boulevard formed the Chambersburg Area Skate Park Association with area teens and their parents.

Cluggy's is building the park, but the teens, parents and other adults had input on the design, McGough said.

"I wanted to get the kids involved." McGough said.

Some of the association members have worked on constructing the ramps and other equipment in preparation for an April or May opening.

The site currently is being prepared for the 75-foot-by-75-foot slab of concrete on which the ramps, mini-pipes, rails, pyramids and other features of the skate park will be constructed. The park will have a beginner's area. McGough said that when the park is fully operational, it will be open from March through October.

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McGough said his insurance carrier will require the use of helmets and other safety equipment when the park opens. It will be staffed by an attendant, just like a roller rink, he said.

The association meets the second Thursday of each month at Cluggy's. Last Thursday evening, the teens set up a ramp and a rail in the parking lot for an evening of skating.

"They're just going to skate around tonight," McGough said. "It's a good turnout."

When the park opens, the teens will help with competitions, McGough said.

He eventually hopes to take the skaters on bus trips to other skate parks, and perhaps the X-Games.

"Anything to promote skate boarding," he said. "They have no place to go. (Some) teens sit home and play video games. This gets them out, and gets them some exercise."

Many parking lots in the area have signs forbidding skateboarding.

McGough, 42, said that as a child, he made skateboards from wood and old roller skates with metal wheels. "It's come a long way since the 1970s."

"I admire their rapport," McGough said, indicating the orderly group taking turns approaching the 2-foot ramp.

Most of the skaters did not wear safety equipment, saying that they are used to falling and know how to brace themselves.

"The point is to expect to get hurt, and be ready for it," said Tyler Ewan, 14, of Chambersburg.

The idea of the rail is "to get up on it and slide off it," said Kevin Keever, 17, of Chambersburg. "It takes lot of time getting tricks down. The first year, you learn to stay on the board and how to do ollies. You get hurt, get up and keep going."

But how do they get the board to stay against the soles of their sneakers when they jump up onto the rail?

"It's all physics," Keever said. "Your back foot pops down, your front foot goes forward, you jump, and it sucks the board right up."

Ewan said that the board "becomes a means of transportation after awhile."

Josh Eustos, 14, of Chambersburg, said he has been skateboarding for eight months and is working on ollies and kick flips.

Dylan Bowling, 10, who wore a safety helmet, said he has been skateboarding for almost a year, and is working on ollies.

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